This idea has been doing the rounds on social media for the last few weeks. A simple search on Twitter for the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew reveals a mix of news articles, photos and messages about the idea. The basics of which is you encourage your class to tell you want they want you to know by completing the sentence at the top of this post. Having received some wonderful responses when asking children about times they had been brave, strong and resilient earlier in the year, I was keen to see what the responses to this would be.
Recently, I discovered this article on TES which suggests the idea is 'an, "oh, heck, no" thing'. Reading deeper, it appears the author's issue lies solely in the publication of the messages and child protection issues this could cause. I completely agree and therefore you won't find any copies of the responses from my class here. Not only can I not guarantee they would be completely anonymous but, more importantly, I promised my pupils that I would be the only person to view their responses. I respect them and owe it to them to keep that vow.
What I did discover, from completing the task, was that I do know my class fairly well; I didn't learn anything completely new. Due to the younger age (8-9 years) of my pupils, their responses often fell into one of 4 categories.
- How much they liked their teacher (!!)
- Subjects they struggled with or enjoyed.
- Friendship issues in the class.
- Information about their home life.
Thankfully, I didn't learn anything particularly enlightening about my class from this activity. A few critics of the idea ask why we should require such an activity to find out about our children. My response would be that if we have open and honest conversations as a part of the general ethos with our classes, then we simply don't. My experience tells me that children are happy to tell us when there are tricky situations at home or if something is making them sad.
However, what this activity did allow was a chance for children to have their voice heard and be given an opportunity to open up about anything in particular that was worrying them. Despite receiving no real revelations from the sentences, I actively encouraged my team members to complete it and will definitely repeat it in future cohorts.